As far as I can tell, Roger Bailey never put this page on his website. I remember him mentioning it once as something he didn’t think worth publishing, and it is clear that it was not finished. But here it is, almost 10 years since he died.
PJB - 17th December 2022

Young Bailey’s Favourites

Warning: may contain nuts

“Well”, I thought to myself one day, “everyone else and their dog seems to to have a composition page, so why shouldn’t I?” Not all the compositions here are by me and to prove the point, here’s the one that the late great J Martin Thorley called for my first peal of Major back in 1961.

5,040 Plain Bob Major by Horace J Howlett

23456  W  M  H
26435  -  -  5
24365  -     5
23645  -     5
Twice repeated. 5 = -s--s.

Most people today (as then) would turn up their noses at this sort of thing, but the remarkable simplicity of this calling made a big impression on me. Martin was a very experienced ringer on all numbers and a formative influence in my early years. He called lots of six-bell peals, but rather fewer on higher numbers and selected his compositions accordingly. He explained to me that the trick to calling the blocks of 5 was to learn the bell that made 4th’s at each single; if you rang the tenor, you would dodge with this bell the lead before the call, giving an invaluable guide to progress. One thing he didn’t tell me was that the second does completely regular work in each 5-course block. It’s also affected at every call except for the shunt bob middle (when it’s in 5-6 up with the tenor), which makes it especially easy to keep track of where you are if you call from this bell.

Now just for a laugh, here’s the first thing I ever composed. It’s a bit rubbish, but it shows that I’d thoroughly absorbed Martin’s line on big blocks of calls at Home. And I was only about 15 years old at the time. I have less excuse for that kind of thing now.

5,088 Plain Bob Major (No 1)

23456  W  B  M  H
43256           2
54236  -        3
25346  -        4
34265     -  -  2
23645  -        4
Repeat twice. 2 = -s; 4 = --s-.

In those days the accepted criterion for music was to have all the combination course-ends, (i.e. any 2 of { 4, 5, 6 } in 5–6) without having the 2nd or 3rd in 6th’s. Keeping the 2nd out of 5th’s was also considered a Good Thing too; this was before we all got hooked on little-bell rollups of course.

Being an obsessive youth, I naturally worried about the handful of 82’s between the Before and the Middle in each part, and laboriously figured out that using Wrong and Before as the shunt would give the same effect without this “blemish”, giving:

5,088 Plain Bob Major (No 4)

23456  W  B  H
53264  -  -  2
65234  -     3
36254  -     6
23564  -     4
Repeat twice. 2 = -s; 4 = --s-; 6 =--s--s.

Which was published in the RW (what a thrill for a young composer) and seems to have achieved a degree of popularity, probably for exactly the reasons I produced it — ease of calling from a small bell. I’m not sure what happened to compositions 2 and 3, though they probably existed at some stage.

What I didn’t know was that somewhere out there was the following:

5,088 Plain Bob Major by Anon

23456  W  B  H
53264  -  -  3*
65234  -     3
36254  -     6
23564  -     3*
Repeat twice. 6 = --s--s. 3* = s--

... which is clearly a much neater implementation of the same idea. I seem to recall that Andrew Wilby first pointed this out, but it’s not in Tony Smith’s Index to Compositions in the Ringing World, so I don’t know where Andrew came across it; a Leicester DG annual report perhaps?

the man from southgate’s comp

5,184 (5,072) Plain Bob Major (No x)

23456  W  B  M  H
64235  -     -  -
36245  -        6
43265  -        6
42635  -        3*
34256     -     2
53246  -        3
45236  -
23546  s        -
Repeat. 6 = --s--s. 3* = s-s. For 5,072 call 2 (--) for 3* in one part.

William Thornley's composition

my 5,024 w b 2h

my 5088

some easy handbell jobs. EM Atkins’ and other 12-parts point to handbell collection website

double norwich comps